GPs can now administer Covid booster vaccines to care home residents sooner than six months after their second dose.
The guidance update means care home residents will now be able to be vaccinated in the same session, as long as it has been five months since their second dose.
The change also applies to housebound patients, so that they can get their flu and Covid vaccines at the same time.
In addition, those who are eligible for a booster and about to receive immunosuppressive treatment will be able to get their booster four months after their second dose, when their immune system is better able to respond.
These changes to the UK Health Security Agency’s Green Book will speed up the vaccination process, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The news comes as NHS England said last week that GPs were on track to meet the target of offering Covid boosters in all care homes by 1 November.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘This updated guidance will ensure healthcare professionals have the necessary flexibility in the booster programme, allowing more vulnerable people to be vaccinated where it makes operational sense to do so – including our loved ones in care homes.’
Those who do not fit into the new criteria for a fast-tacked booster jab will still be invited for their jab six months after their second dose.
Protection against symptomatic disease falls from 65% up to three months after the second dose, to 45% six months after the second dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, according to the latest evidence from SAGE.
Meanwhile, protection against hospitalisation falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTec.
Over eight million people have now received their Covid-19 booster jab, the latest figures showed today, with NHS England also announcing that eligible patients will be able to get their boosters at walk-in sites.
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